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Things to do in Milan

Il Duomo di Milano

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Milan Cathedral

The Cathedral of Milan, better known as the Duomo, is a huge Gothic cathedral that is located in the heart of the city. With 157 meters in length, 11,700 square meters and space for more than 40,000 people, the Milan Duomo is one of the largest Catholic cathedrals in the world.

The place was occupied by the Basilica of St. Ambrose from the fifth century, and in 836 was added the Basilica of St. Tecla. In 1075 both buildings were destroyed by a great fire and in 1386 the construction of the Duomo began in the same place.

The construction of the Cathedral of Milan began in the year 1386 under the command of Gian Galeazzo Visconti. The objective of this titanic work was to renew the area and celebrate the policy of territorial expansion of the Visconti.

The construction of the cathedral took place during five centuries, in which different architects, sculptors and artists contributed their professional contribution in the famous "Fabbrica del Duomo" (Factory of the Cathedral). The result of all this work was a unique architecture, which fuses the international Gothic style with the Lombard tradition.

The exterior of the Cathedral is covered in pink white marble, from the Candoglia caves in Val D'Ossola, and its upper part culminates with countless pinnacles and towers crowned by statues that overlook the city.

At the highest point of the temple is the golden copper statue sculpted by Giuseppe Perego in 1774, known as the Madonnina and converted into the symbol of Milan.

The Cathedral of Milan is a temple of great dimensions composed by large plates of dark marble. The interior has a stylized and spacious appearance thanks to the long marble columns with carved statues that reach the ceiling.

Between the columns are hung large paintings representing different religious scenes. Throughout the temple you can see the skeletons of different saints who are dressed in their best galas.

Among the most striking elements is the statue of Bartolomé the Apostle, patron of the tanners, in which appears with the skin torn and hanging on his shoulders referring to the martyrdom he suffered.

In one vault of the ceiling behind the altar, one of the treasures of the cathedral, a Nail of the Cross of Christ, is kept. On the Saturday closest to September 14 the nail is removed from the place where it is kept so that the faithful can admire it.

Panoramic terrace

The terrace of the upper part of the cathedral occupies practically the whole surface of the roof and offers the possibility to walk on the heights while contemplating the beautiful views of the city. Also interesting is the view of the pinnacles and the sculptures of the nearby roof.

It is possible to access the terrace on foot, using a few comfortable stairs, or using the elevator, for which it is necessary to pay a supplement.

The crypt and the Treasure

In the crypt is the Chapel of San Carlos Borromeo, in which its remains are conserved. You can also visit the Treasury, although it is not too interesting and has very few objects.

The Baptistery

Under the Duomo you can visit the archaeological excavations showing the remains of the Cathedral of Santa Tecla and the ruins of a Christian baptistery of the fourth century. In the center of the baptistery are the remains of a large octagonal baptismal font in which it is said that St. Ambrose baptized St. Augustine in 387.

The most visited place of Milan

The Duomo of Milan is one of the most important places of the city and well worth a visit. Although the entrance to the Treasury is not worth too much, the visit to the panoramic terrace is spectacular.

It is necessary to take into account that, although the city is visited during the summer and it is very hot, it is necessary to have the knees covered and something on the shoulders to be able to visit the cathedral, since it is very guarded.

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